Another Year Over… and a New One About To Begin!

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What an incredible year it’s been! I can’t believe it’s just about over already, and another year – all shiny, sparkly, new and full of possibility – is about to begin.

2013

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A Big Thank You and a Round up of Favourite Posts from 2012

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Wow. I can’t believe that 2012 is coming to a close. It’s been a massive year which saw me take up blogging back in March as a bit of fun, and amazingly – people started to read Absolute Amy.  I’ve covered topics from motherhood, fashion, charity events, reviews, beauty, recipes and giveaways. Thank you SO much to everyone who’s come and said hi, taken the time to leave a comment, other bloggers who have supported, inspired and encouraged me along the way and all the people who have shared what they’re loving in their life, because that’s what blogging is all about – sharing fashion finds, recipes, things for the kids and everything in between – so we can all live a more fun, meaningful and stylish life.

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Five Minutes with Celebrity Make Up Artist Tamzin Mulder

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Tamzin Mulder has been a hairdresser for 23 years and make up artist for 19 years. She was the Art Director for Toni & Guy travelling extensively through London, Asia, and Sydney as an educator for the company. More recently Tamzin has worked with Channel 7, The West Australian, Scoop Magazine and Telethon. Today she’s sharing her expert beauty and make up tips for looking and feeling beautiful this Summer.

Tamzin

Christmas Gift Ideas : Home Made Rocky Road

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During the festive season, you often need lovely little gifts for friends, family, work colleagues and neighbours. This delicious rocky road is a great alternative to a bottle of wine or box of chocolates and is so easy to make, looks beautiful displayed around the house and is also child and allergy friendly as it doesn’t contain any nuts. I made a batch, filled three clean, empty Glasshouse candle jars, tied some festive ribbon around the jars and voilà! Not only do they look great, they are so convenient to have on hand to take to a Christmas catch up.  Next time I’ll create some tags to complete the look.

My lovely friend Alicia gave this recipe to me, so many thanks to her for sharing!

Rocky Road

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Unveiled: 200 Years of Wedding Glamour

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A stunning collection of wedding gowns has been launched at the WA Museum with a glamorous VIP wedding ceremony. The exhibition includes dresses worn by Gwen Stefani, Dita Von Teese and Sarah Jessica Parker and spans styles from the early 1800’s to modern day.

Dita VT

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Look Feel Be : Your Chance to Win a $500 Shopping Spree! (Now Closed)

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Christmas is often a time of year where you’re so crazy busy putting up the tree, buying gifts and planning the Christmas menu that you forget about yourself.  Well guess what? Santa Claus is coming to town early this year especially for YOU as Look Feel Be and Absolute Amy have teamed up to offer one very lucky reader a $500 shopping spree at Look Feel Be! 

Happy Holidays

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Telethon Adventurers Achievement Night 2012

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The Telethon Adventurers are a group of people who care so much about finding a cure for childhood cancer they are willing to climb mountains, jump out of planes, swim with sharks and even walk under water to raise a staggering $1,800,864 in under a year for the Telethon Institute and Princess Margaret Hospital.

Rick and Emily

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L-R: My hubby Basil, me, Emily and Rick Parish at the Terrace Hotel Opening

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas at Our Place

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our place. Although there are no chestnuts roasting on an open fire, we have our tree up, Christmas candles lit, decorations dotted throughout the house and we’ve even been listening to carols! I’ve always loved Christmas, the excitement of the festive season, exchanging gifts, baking Christmas treats and spending time with family and friends.

Xmas Table A

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Emerald City : Peplum and Lace

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I wore this Witchery dress to the Dine For Life event on Wednesday night and had so many people ask me about it,  I thought I’d do a mini outfit post.  I have to confess that about a year ago I didn’t wear much colour at all.  I’m not sure whether it’s because I didn’t feel confident enough or whether I just stuck with safer shades – but now I can’t get enough! Move over Carmen Miranda Otto!

 

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Dine for Life 2012

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Last night a large crowd braved the stormy Perth weather for the much anticipated annual Dine for Life evening.  Guests enjoyed dinner at multiple locations around Perth including Nobu, Rockpool, Bistro Guillaume, 1907, Petit Mort, Beluga and many other restaurants.  An after party was held at Print Hall where guests were treated to cocktails and heard more about this years chosen charity SISHA, an organisation that is dedicated to providing justice and hope for men, women and children who have been subjected to exploitation in South East Asia.

L-R: Aurelio Costarella, Liam Baxter, me and Dine for Life co-founder Andjelka Matic

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Shimmy Shake!

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Last week I attended a lunch at Bistro Guillaume with Mia Freedman.  I wanted a fun and colourful outfit that wouldn’t break the bank and I happened to find inspiration from a fabulous blog that I just discovered.

My ‘Lunch with Mia’ Outfit

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Lunch with Mia Freedman

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Yesterday I had lunch with Mia Freedman. Well, it was me, Mia and 100 other guests at Bistro Guillaume at Crown Perth but the way Mia casually chatted, stopped for photos, complimented Perth women on their great style, it felt like a fun and intimate girls lunch.

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Introducing Taka Wear Australia. Plus a Fab Giveaway! (Now Closed)

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An exciting new store has arrived on our sunny shores. Taka Wear Australia is located at the Colonnade, Subiaco and stocks luxurious resort wear that’s comfortable enough to wear to the beach and glamorous enough to wear for cocktails afterwards.  It’s the kind of casual-glamour that Turkish owner Tania Eskinazi exudes, that effortless ‘I just threw this on’ look which could belong in the pages of a glossy magazine.

Tania Eskinazi in her Subiaco store

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Five Fab Christmas Gifts for Her

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Christmas is only weeks away and if you haven’t started your shopping just yet, here’s some giftspiration for the special women in your life.  All of these gifts are available online, and if your family/boyfriend/husband needs help with Christmas gift ideas, you can send a cheeky link to this post with ‘In Case You Get Stuck’ in the subject title. I know I’d be delighted for Santa to bring me any of these gorgeous goodies (hint hint!).

Weleda Pomegranate Gift Pack $29.90

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Brunch with the Girls

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It was a gorgeous sunny day and I was headed for brunch with the girls, a perfect time to pull out my new summer shorts. I’ve never done an outfit post before, but I thought I’d be brave and share this one with you.  If everyone enjoys it, I’ll do more in the future.

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Aussie Bombshell : Sunless Spray Tan

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Last week I had my very first Aussie Bombshell experience.  I had a busy weekend of events, including a wedding and a black tie ball and I knew that if I had a healthy glow, I would look and feel so much better.

I booked my spray tan for late afternoon, thinking that I probably wouldn’t be able to be seen in public afterwards, but amazingly the tan was subtle and I could easily have popped into the supermarket without anyone noticing that I’d just had a spray tan. I was even sent home in a specially designed tan dress which is loose, flowing and perfect for those tricky few hours post spray tan where you don’t want anything rubbing against your skin. Genius! Continue reading

Words for Teenagers

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I read this article this morning and immediately saved it for when my daughter is a teenager. As parents, many of us feel we should be constantly entertaining our children, giving them the best of everything and making their lives as easy as possible. When I think of the upbringing my beautiful grandparents had, much more was expected of them and maybe that’s why they are so kind, thoughtful, generous of spirit and interested in others. This article is definitely food for thought for all of us who have children, and especially those who have teenagers. Continue reading

Telethon 2012 Highlights

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Telethon has been so special for me ever since I was a little girl. I remember staying up late, watching the excitement and being so inspired by how much money was raised helping sick kids over 26 hours of live television. This year Telethon kicked off with a massive opening act from Johnny Ruffo, Daryl Braithwaite, Soul Mystique, Andrew Da Silva and an array of Channel 7 stars and promised to be the biggest and best Telethon yet! Continue reading

Couture Perth Portrait Sessions : Special Offer!

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A few months ago I was invited along for a portrait session by Jen of Couture Perth.  Jen is the kind of person who you’d love to have as a friend; she’s warm, kind, friendly and she immediately puts you at ease. It’s the reason she makes such an incredible photographer.

My Couture Perth experience began with having my hair and make up done by Emma of Milla Make Up. As a mum who eats lunch standing up and is busy running after a very energetic toddler, being able to sit down and not have to do ANYTHING for a good hour or more was total bliss! Continue reading

The Terrace Hotel Opening

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The Terrace Hotel finally flung open it’s doors last Thursday evening with an opulent VIP soirée.  Guests including Premier Colin Barnett, Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, Ray Costarella, Emma Booth, Jessica Gomes, Zara Bryson and PR maven Caitlin Irving were treated to endless rounds of Veuve Clicquot and canapés prepared by Executive Chef Shannon Wilson.

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Five Beauty Products I’m Loving Right Now

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With the Spring Racing Carnival about to begin, and the festive season just around the corner I’ve found some fab new beauty products for a bit of extra fun and glamour.  These are five that I’m loving right now.

Q Silica Paw Paw Rescue Ointment $7.50

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Ten Fab Coffee Table Books

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I adore coffee table books, they provide hours of inspiration and look beautiful displayed around the house with candles and fresh flowers.  They also make gorgeous gifts and with Christmas just around the corner, I thought I’d look online for my favourite and best priced coffee table books.  With this selection there’s something for everyone from the footy fan to the fashionista and even the foodie! This post is dedicated to a lovely reader called Shae who e-mailed and asked me about my favourite coffee table books – enjoy!

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Franc Essential Summer Indulgence Giveaway : NOW CLOSED

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With Summer on it’s way, it’s time to polish and hydrate your skin so it’s smooth, soft, glowing and gorgeous and what better way to do this than with a luscious gift pack from Franc Essentials, an all natural and organic skincare range made right here in Australia.

Franc Essential are giving one lucky reader a Summer Indulgence gift pack worth $100. You’ll receive:

1 x 250ml Body Glow to gently exfoliate and smooth

1 x  250ml Body Melt to nourish and hydrate

1 x 50ml Lemongrass Mist to refresh, hydrate and balance

Franc Essentials Body Glow 

Franc Essentials Body Melt 

Franc Essentials Lemongrass Mist

For your chance to win this gorgeous Summer Indulgence gift pack, all you have to do is:

1) Head on over and ‘like’ the Franc Essentials Facebook page here

2) In the comments section below, tell us in 25 words or less why you’d love smooth, soft and supple skin for Summer

T & C’s

The competition is open Australia wide. Competition closes midnight WST Thursday 1st November. The winner will be selected using the random number generator and announced on Friday 2nd November.

Good luck for winning this luscious gift pack lovelies!

A xxx

Chicken Salad with Mango, Avocado and Feta

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The arrival of mangoes in the supermarket means I can start making my favourite delicious summertime salad – warm chicken with mango, avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms, feta and cashews with a sweet chilli, lemon and soy sauce. I love this super healthy and yummy salad, it’s so fresh and full of flavour. I would love to take credit for creating this dish, but that goes to my gorgeous friend Louise from Baby Steps PT. Thanks for sharing yet another fantastic recipe with us Louise!

Serves two

Ingredients

400 grams chicken breast or tenderloin

120 g baby spinach and rocket

Fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 lebanese cucumber

4 button mushrooms

1 medium avocado

Handful cherry tomatoes

1 medium mango

Handful of cashew nuts

Feta cheese

1 lemon

Soy sauce

Sweet chilli sauce

Method

1) Mix the spinach and rocket and finely chopped mint, arrange onto two plates

2) Chop tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber and avocado and add to the two plates

3) Cut chicken into bite sized pieces, then cook in a non stick pan – adding 2tbspn soy sauce, 3 tbspn sweet chilli sauce and the juice of half a lemon

4) Cut mango into strips, set to the side

5) Once the chicken has cooked, take off the heat and let cool for a few minutes

6) Place the chicken on top of the salads, adding the sauce from the pan and an extra squeeze of lemon

7) Add strips of mango on top of the chicken, crumble some feta over the salad and add some cashews

Too easy!

Enjoy this delicious Summertime salad.

A xx

What’s your favourite Summertime recipe?

What fruit and veg do you look forward to seeing in the supermarkets with the return of Summer?

Bruno Mars – Locked Out of Heaven

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I can’t wait to get my hands on Bruno Mars new album Unorthodox Jukebox. His new track ‘Locked out of Heaven’ is going to be massive this Summer, it’s such a fun, feel good song.  It’s got a bit of a Police vibe to it, don’t you think?

‘Cause you make me feel like, I’ve been locked out of heaven. For too long, for too long…. oh yeah, oh yeah-eh-eh, ah-ah-ah.  Ooh!’

Love it!

A xx

What’s rocking your world this week?

What are your favourite songs right now?

A New Adventure: Telethon Adventurers Ambassador

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A few weeks ago, I met Rick and Emily Parish at a charity event. They told me about their beautiful brown eyed boy Elliott who sadly lost his battle with cancer last year.  They also told me about their incredible crusade against childhood cancer in his memory, through the Telethon Adventurers.

As a mother, their story touched me for so many reasons, I could see how fiercely they loved their little boy and I was in awe of how they have turned their devastating loss and grief into devoting their lives to finding the cause and a cure for childhood cancer.

That’s why it’s such an honour for me to accept the invitation to be an ambassador for the Telethon Adventurers.  The Telethon Adventurers are dedicated to raising funds for research and equipment for childhood cancer and last year they distributed almost $1,500, 000 to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

I encourage all parents to get behind the Telethon Adventurers and support them in any way possible.

Together we can work towards a future that’s cancer free for our children.

To find out more info or to see how you can help, head over to the Telethon Adventurers website.

A xxx

Five Minutes with WA Fashions on The Field Winner Emma Reynolds

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Emma is owner of Headonism Millinery and shared her Spring Racewear tips with us here last week.  On Saturday, Emma won WA Fashions on The Field and is off to Melbourne to compete for the national title! Headonism Millinery has created headwear for Royal Ascot, the Queens Garden Party and Perth Fashion Festival 2012 for Ange Lang.  We caught up with Emma to find out how she created her winning outfit, where her love of headwear began and her top tips for the Spring Racing Carnival.

Congratulations on winning Fashions on Field in WA for 2012, can you tell us how you put your outfit together? 

Thanks Amy! I wanted to incorporate neon with navy since navy is my favourite colour and I love a small amount of the neon trend. I like an elegant look but I thought the neon added a touch of fun.

I had the navy skirt and belt already in my wardrobe and when I saw the Mimco shoes I knew they would be perfect and they prompted my decision on the bag. A peplum top was the best option for the shape of the skirt and when I was buying the top I found the perfect necklace and the only one left in the store!

Amy and Emma wearing Headonism Millinery headwear

I wanted to use the navy parasail in the headpiece but finding silk or anything neon that looked quality at short notice was a mission and a half. In the end we managed to get the exact colour by dying guipure lace which was super lucky to get a match!

You studied millinery in the UK many years ago, how did your love of headwear begin?

I have done millinery courses in the UK, Sydney and with Fiona Dixon here in Perth. The more milliners I meet and speak to, the more I realise there is so much to learn and it will be a life-long learning experience.  There are some really talented passionate ladies in Perth who have been doing millinery for years, who really inspire me and who are all very supportive of each other doing well and promoting the art. Hopefully one day I can know half of what they know.

For me at the moment it’s wonderful to have a creative outlet and I love seeing people happy with what we have created for them.

Emma in her winning outfit and stunning custom made Headonism hat

As for my love of headwear, I have been going to the races for about 10 years with my sister – she won the ‘Face of Ascot’ many years ago on a rainy day and since then we love these biannual days out doing fashions on the field with our friends, enjoying a glass of champagne and having a laugh.

I love the elegance of being able to wear a hat, it’s so ladylike and such a great way of expressing your style and individuality.

Can you tell us how the design process works for a custom headpiece from Headonism Millinery?   

Most people come to us with their dress, shoes and bag and we will try on various headwear shapes that we have to see what will suit them.

From there a client may request the exact same design as something we have already created or in many cases something completely individual and will be happy to let us run with an original design.  We will then use various millinery products and begin working on the piece which will then take hours since everything is hand sewn.

My hubby and I at the Queens Garden Party 2011. I’m wearing a Headonism pill box hat with hand made silk flowers to match my Lisa Ho dress. Video here.

Often they will have seen something that they like in a magazine, it helps get an idea of their individual style but we would never intentionally copy another milliners headpiece. We will always say that if they like that design then they should go to that milliner – all the ladies I know who make headwear are of the same opinion.

Headonism Headwear for Ange Lang at Perth Fashion Festival 2012

What are your top style tips for this Spring Racing Carnival?

I guess it depends on what day of racing you are attending. Classic, edgy black and white for Derby day. Have fun with colour and go all out for Melbourne Cup and then Oaks day is generally a little more demure and feminine.

In terms of headwear I love anything except tiny feathery fascinators perched on the side of the head. Be brave ladies!

Emma’s sister Kate on her wedding day in a beautiful Headonism Millinery headpiece

You can follow Emma on Twitter @Em_Reyno and find her on Facebook at Headonism Millinery.

Good luck in Melbourne Emma, we look forward to following all the fashion fun with you!

A xxx

Fish with Roast Potatoes, Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

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I’ve never been very good at cooking fish, it always seem to stick to the pan or it’s too messy and it seems much easier to order a perfectly cooked piece of fish at our local seafood restaurant.  Then I saw this method of cooking fish in the oven on Jessica Seinfelds Do It Delicious website and it looked so quick and easy, I just had to give it a go for my ‘Five Days : Five New Recipes‘ challenge.

Ingredients

4 skinless fish fillets (You can’t get halibut in Australia, I used ling fillets – but your local fish market can recommend fish for you).

200g packet of washed baby spinach

1 garlic clove

Salt

Olive oil

1 lemon

6 medium sized potatoes

One bunch of asparagus

One small punnet cherry tomatoes

Parmesan cheese

Method

1) Wash potatoes and par boil them for 10 minutes in the microwave or on the stove.

2) Heat the oven to 180 degrees, once the potatoes are par boiled, drain, cut in half and place in a roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for around 45 minutes.

3) To prepare the fish, rub a sheet pan with the cut side of the garlic then discard. (Watch Jessica Seinfelds video to see how easy it is to cook the fish here.)

4) In a large bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and spread evenly on the sheet pan.

5) Season the fish with the remaining teaspoon of salt and rub with a thin coat of oil. Place on top of the spinach and top each fillet with 2 lemon slices.

6) Wash asparagus and cherry tomatoes, cut the asparagus into thirds lengthwise. Add the asparagus and cherry tomatoes into the roasting dish with the potatoes for 7 – 8 minutes (the same time as it takes the fish to cook).

6) Place the fish in the oven and bake until the fish flakes easily, 7-8 minutes.

7) Add some grated parmesan onto the roasted potatoes, asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

Serve and enjoy!

A xx

Have you tried a new recipe this week?

Spring Racewear Guide 2012

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Emma is owner of Headonism Millinery and today shares some of her favourite Spring racewear with us. Headonism recently designed headpieces for Ange Lang for Perth Fashion Festival.

The Spring Racing Carnival kicks off here in Perth at Ascot this coming Saturday, 20th October. There are so many trends to choose from this season.  Pastels, floral, neon, nude and classic black and white.  There’s so much fun to be had and I can’t wait to see the creations the stylish ladies of Perth come up with at the Myer Fashions on the Field competition!

If you haven’t found an outfit yet there is still time to find something.  Here are a few accessible choices ranging from high street to designer.

Don’t forget the most important part that will make or break your outfit – your headwear. There are a number of milliners in Perth each with their own unique style that can make you a bespoke piece to go with your outfit.

This floaty, feminine David Lawrence floral dress is so ‘spring’ like.  It would look lovely with a headpiece that focuses on the pink in the dress.

David Lawrence Oriental Floral Silk Dress $249

This Cue dress is in such a pretty, minty shade and is easy to accessorise with a statement headpiece with neutral bag and shoes.

Headonism Millinery Headpiece. Call 0450 498 377.
Simple nude tones are always a winner.  I love the peplum detail on this Nicola Finetti dress.
This Saba dress is also a fantastic choice.
You could match this dress with this beautifully detailed tonal Headonism Millinery headpiece.
Headonism Millinery Headpiece. Call 0450 498 377.
Myer stylist AndAndrea picked this Nicola Finetti number as one of her spring racing choices and I have to agree it is this seasons racing perfection in it’s ladylike hue.
Lemon is a gorgeous, fresh springtime colour and this feminine dress would be perfectly teamed with this headpiece.
Headonism Millinery Headpiece. Call 0450 498 377.
Classic Black and White elegance – I absolutely love this clean understated Saba dress, the silky back detail makes it super elegant.  Also available in a nude which is also beautiful.
Finally for something quite different I really like the idea of silver and navy, you could accessorise the dress with a navy belt to tie in the headpiece.
Headonism Millinery Headpiece. Call 0450 498 377.
Happy Spring racing carnival!
For more info about Headonism Millinery, head over to the Facebook page here.
Emma is also happy to put you in contact with other Perth Milliners if Headonism is unable to achieve the specific look you are after.

Banana and Coconut Muffins

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These muffins are seriously delicious.  I made a batch for the first time yesterday for my ‘Five Days : Five New Recipes‘ challenge and they are so yummy and moist.  My daughter had one fresh out of the oven and I could hear her going ‘Mmmmm-mmmmm’ while she was eating it. The recipe was given to me by Amy York on my Facebook page, thank you so much to Amy for sharing her muffin recipe with us!

Ingredients

125g margarine or butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup milk (use buttermilk, coconut cream or sour cream for a moister muffin)

1 tspn vanilla extract

1 tspn cinnamon

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional – but highly recommended!)

Icing (optional)

Philadelphia cream cheese frosting with a hint of lemon

2 tbspn chopped walnuts for decoration

Method

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2) Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases

3) Cream butter and sugar, add mashed banana, vanilla, milk and eggs. Stir to combine

4) Sift in self raising flour and add coconut, cinnamon and walnuts. Fold very gently until just combined.

5) Place tablespoons in paper cases and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until skewer comes out clean.

6) Turn out onto a wire rack to cool

6) Once cooled, ice with Philadelphia cream cheese frosting with a hint of lemon and garnish with some chopped walnuts.

Enjoy!!

A xxx

What new recipe are you going to try this week for the ‘Five Days : Five New Recipes’ challenge ?

Luscious Lemon Slice

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This is my second new recipe for my ‘Five Days : Five New Recipes’ challenge.  My friend Alicia whipped this delicious lemon slice Taste recipe up over the weekend and was lovely enough to share it with me. It’s perfect for the kids lunchbox, or morning tea for the whole family. Yum!

Ingredients

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

100g butter

200g granita biscuits

1 cup desiccated coconut

2 lemons, rind finely grated

Lemon icing

2 cups icing sugar

40g butter softened

1 lemon, rind finely grated

Method

1) Grease and line a 3cm deep, 15.5 x 25cm (base) slab pan. Place condensed milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring, for 4 or 5 minutes or until butter has melted.

2) Place biscuits in a food processor and blend until fine crumbs.  Combine crumbs, coconut and 4 teaspoons (we have doubled the amount from the Taste recipe) lemon rind in a bowl. Add butter mixture, stir until well combined. (If you don’t have a food processor, just place the biscuits in a plastic zip lock bag, seal and use a rolling pin to pound the biscuits into crumbs). Press biscuit mixture into prepared pan. Refrigerate for one and a half hours or until firm.

4) Make lemon icing: Place icing sugar, butter and 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl.  Beat with a wooden soon until smooth. Spread icing over slice, refrigerate for a further half hour or until icing has set. Cut into pieces. Serve.

Enjoy!!

A xxx

To see all my recipes posted on the blog so far, click here.

What new recipe are you going to try for the ‘Five Day : Five New Recipes’ challenge?

Mini Spinach, Mushroom and Tomato Quiches

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This is my first new recipe for my ‘Five Days : Five New Recipes’ challenge.  It’s from the fantastic ‘Toddlertastes‘ book which is full of yummy, healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes, fun play ideas and also has very handy nutritional information for each recipe.  If you have a toddler, then do yourself a big favour and get your hands on a copy of this book.

Ingredients

400g spinach, washed

6 eggs

100ml milk

2 tbspn parmesan cheese

2 tbspn chives, finely chopped

8 small mushrooms

8 cherry tomatoes

Method

1) Heat oven to 180 degrees / gas mark 4

2) Cook spinach in a dry non stick frying pan over high heat until wilted, remove from pan, squeeze out excess juice and roughly chop. Set aside.

3) Cut 8 pieces of of baking paper into squares, size to fit a muffin pan with paper hanging over the sides.

4) Beat eggs with milk, cheese and chives

5) Place chopped spinach and mushrooms into the base of the muffin tin, pour over egg mixture and top with cherry tomato halves

6) Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until just set.

7) Top with a little extra grated cheese

(I also sprinkled a tiny bit of nutmeg on top before cooking – yummy!)

These are delicious not just for your toddler but for the whole family.  My hubby had a couple for lunch with a spinach salad or you could pop a couple in a lunchbox with a salad for work.

You could even make mini versions of these as canapés for a cocktail party or high tea.

Enjoy!

A xxx

What new recipe are you going to try this week?

Five Days : Five New Recipes Challenge

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I confess that I am an enthusiastic cook rather than a particularly good one, but I really enjoy food and I like to make sure my family eats yummy and healthy meals and snacks.

I’ve been looking through cookbooks and browsing the interwebs for healthy recipe inspiration, and with so much to choose from – I’ve decided to try a new recipe every day this week.

Raspberry and White Choc Chip Muffins

So I’m issuing a ‘Five Days : Five New Recipes’ challenge.  This can include anything from kids snacks, yummy breakfast ideas, lunch and dinner recipes. I’m excited about a week of new flavours and yummy creations!

Who’s going to join in with me?  I’ll be putting my favourite recipes that you share with me up on the blog.

I already have a small collection of recipes that I’ve shared on the blog which you can check out here.

A xxx

What’s your all time favourite recipe?

When was the last time you tried a new recipe?

Glittering, Sparkly Shellac : I’m In Love

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Despite being on struggle street this morning with a sick toddler and minimal sleep, I’m in love with my new pale pink shellac mani featuring one glittering, sparkly nail.  I had it done especially for my cousins wedding later today.

‘My Cousins Wedding’ shellac mani

It reminds me of one of Jerry Seinfeld’s three rules of life – ‘Fall in love everyday‘, which is not necessarily about falling in love with someone but appreciating what you have and being passionate about what you do.

Today, I am in love with ‘My Cousin’s Wedding’ glittering, sparkly mani.

Everyday I am in love with my wonderful hubby and beautiful little girl.

Wishing my gorgeous cousin and her soon to be new husband a lifetime of much love, laughter and happiness. I hope you fall in love everyday.

A xxx

What are you in love with today?

What cheers you up when you’re on struggle street?

Being Kind

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At the beginning of the year I started volunteering for Look Good Feel Better,  a programme for people undergoing cancer treatment.  I always come away from  workshops feeling so inspired, these women are going through possibly the most difficult and challenging time of their lives and yet they walk in with a smile, are happy to chat, swap stories and have a laugh.

The last workshop I volunteered at, I was talking with a lady called Helen. I asked her how her morning had been and she told me it had been really lovely.  Thinking that perhaps she’s been for breakfast at her favourite cafe or gone for a walk in the park, I asked her what she’d been up to.  She told me that she’d had a nice chat with her taxi driver, and then someone in the hospital had helped her find the room the workshop was being held in.  That was it.  Nothing remarkable or out of the ordinary, but for Helen – those two small acts of kindness had made her morning ‘really lovely’.

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It made me think that we never really know what people are going through. Sometimes small acts of kindness can make someones day, like taking time to have a chat or holding a door open. Complimenting someone. Something. Anything.

We are all so busy rushing around, closed off, reluctant to interact or even smile at each other.

Some time ago, I was struggling at a checkout with a wriggling toddler when my stroller fell to the floor and the contents of my bag spilled out.  It was one of those moments that I just wanted to cry. In a queue of people who pretended not to notice what happened, an elderly lady behind me picked my stroller up and helped me collect the contents of my bag.  I thanked her and moved towards the checkout thinking how lovely and helpful she had been.  As she walked past me outside the shop, she insisted on giving me $2 for my daughter to have a ride on a Wiggles car. I was amazed by how kind she was.

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I recently read this amazing post ‘11 Ways to Live More Mindfully‘ by The Simply Luxurious Life.  The last point encourages us to notice a need and act.  To be kind to each other.

From now on, I am going to try my best to be more mindful and kind every day.

A xxx

Are you involved with a charity?

Have you experienced a random act of kindness recently?

Baby Shower Gift Ideas

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I went to a lovely baby shower over the weekend and had loads of fun browsing through online stores looking for ‘giftspiration’.  There are so many gorgeous and beautiful things for babies, sometimes it can be hard to decide what to get!  These are just some of my top baby shower gift ideas:

Weleda Calendula Baby Gift Pack $32.90 from Peachy Clean

Incredibly, many of the popular supermarket brand baby washes and shampoos include nasty, toxic and drying ingredients.  I noticed my daughter was getting very dry, irritable skin and then someone told me about natural and organic Weleda products.  I made the switch and haven’t looked back.  I wish I’d known about these skincare products when she was born. This pack would be a beautiful gift for a new or expectant mum, giving her reassurance that the skincare she is using on her babies delicate skin is gentle, organic and natural.

Putamayo Kids CD’s $14.98

Putamayo kids CD’s are hands down the best kids music you will find (apart from The Wiggles of course!).  Putamayo have a huge range of kids music including French, Brazilian, Latin, Caribbean and Celtic with many more albums available in English like Dreamland, Picnic Playground and Kids World Party. With so much more time being spent at home and in the car once a new baby arrives, music is a gift that can be enjoyed by the whole family for years to come.

Britt Bear $49.95

These soft, snuggly Britt Bears are an ideal baby shower gift.  My daughter was given one when she was born and she loves it so much she still sleeps with it now.  It’s the perfect size, can be put in the washing machine and dryer and what’s even better – they are lovingly hand made right here in Australia. They even come in a beautiful gift box, tied with a bow – all you have to do is attach a hand written note.

Babytastes Book $22.95

This was one of the best baby recipe books I discovered. Written by two child health nurses, it’s a really easy and practical way to introduce natural and healthy food to your child.  It has heaps of fantastic recipes, including banana and blueberry pikelets (which I still make for my toddler now) and salmon pasta which can be made for the whole family. The authors have just released a new ‘Toddler Tastes‘ book as well, and you can buy both books for the special price of $55.  For more info, or to purchase the books – check out the Babytastes website here.

Tippy Toes Socks $20 from Peters of Kensington

These are the most gorgeous socks for babies and toddlers and they come in a really wide range of colours and designs. They are sold in beautiful gift boxes and come in a pack of six. These girls ‘Mary Jane’ version look like your little one is wearing tiny little Mary Janes!  Too cute! They are also really practical with rubber paw grips underneath, they never slip off, and wash beautifully.  Peters of Kensington have them at the best price I have found, as they usually retail for $25.95.

Tippy Toes Socks $20 from Peters of Kensington

These boys ‘Kicker’ socks are designed to look like your little man is wearing sneakers. Genius!

Happy baby shower shopping!!

A xx

What are your top baby shower gift ideas?

What’s the best baby shower present you’ve received or been given?

Favourite Spring Fashion Finds

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With warmer weather finally here, I’ve been searching for some fab new fashion finds for a fun Spring time wardrobe. These are just a few of my favourites:

Country Road Leaf Print Dress $129

I bought a dress in the same style and stretch cotton fabric from Country Road last year, and I wore it to DEATH. So when I spotted this dress that was very similar, I just had to snap it up.  It’s comfy, wearable, easy to wash, with no ironing needed (happy clap!) and it’s in a gorgeous green pattern – perfect for warm spring and summer days.

Witchery T Bar Sandals $79.95

You can’t go past a fabulous pair of flats for Summer, and these elegant gold t-bar sandals are ideal to slip on with jeans and a tee for casual-glamour or with a colourful maxi.  These will go with everything.

Sportsgirl Marble Printed Midi Skirt $59.95

I love the pops of fuchsia and yellow in this soft stretchy skirt.  It’s an elegant pencil shape and would be ideal with a white shirt and heels for the office, or with flats and a tee for the weekend.

Portmans Floral Bloom Top $59.95

I love this gorgeous top, it’s fresh and florally and screams spring time sunshine. You could pair it with coloured jeans as shown in the photo, or with denim shorts and loads of fun arm candy.

Sportsgirl Round Enamel Bangle $16.95

One of the lovely mums at Gymbaroo recently commented on my bright t-shirt and told me ‘I can’t wear colour’.  It made me realise that a year ago I didn’t wear much colour either.  Whether it’s because I thought I couldn’t, or whether I didn’t feel confident enough to wear it I’m not sure, but a great way to introduce colour to your wardrobe is with some fun arm candy.  These bangles come in gorgeous shades of turquoise, yellow, hot pink, sherbet, orange, black and cream. They have a hint of an Hermès cuff about them. (We can all dream, right?). And for less than $20, they’re a steal!

Happy spring shopping lovelies!

A xxx

What are your favourite spring time fashion finds?

How do you add colour to your wardrobe?

Roast Veggie Cous Cous with Mint, Feta and Lamb Steaks

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Me with Louise and her little man

Today my gorgeous friend Louise is sharing a new healthy and yummy recipe creation with us. Amazingly we fell pregnant at the same time; our children are two weeks apart and are little best friends!  Louise is an incredibly passionate and motivated personal trainer and has set up her business Baby Steps PT for people of all fitness levels.  Head on over and say hi at her new Facebook page here.

Ingredients

1 cup of Cous Cous (serves 2)

1 zucchini

1/2 Japanese pumpkin

1/2 red onion

1 red capsicum

Fresh mint

Fetta

Cherry tomatoes

2 x lamb steaks

Balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

Method:

Boil 1 cup of water.  Once it has come to the boil pour in cous cous with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Once it has cooked, drain and keep to the side and let it cool, then fluff with a fork.

Roast zucchini, capsicum, onion and pumpkin in baking tray with olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. Bake at 150 degrees for 45 mins.

Let veggies cool before tossing through the cous cous. Add finely chopped mint, cherry tomatoes (halved) and crumble fetta on top of the salad.

Serve with grilled lamb steaks and a drizzle of Greek yoghurt!

I hope everyone enjoys this simple but healthy dish.

Enjoy!

Louise  Xxx

You can find Louise on Twitter @BabySteps_PT and on Facebook at Baby Steps PT.

A Tribute To Jill Meagher

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We have all been shocked and devastated with the heartbreaking news that missing woman Jill Meagher’s body has been found in a shallow grave outside Melbourne.

Most of us have seen the CCTV footage of Jill’s last known sighting, walking home alone in the early hours of the morning, talking to a man in a blue hoodie on a busy street in Brunswick, Melbourne.  She was only a few hundred metres from home.

Jill Meagher’s disappearance, alleged abduction and murder has sparked the issue of womens safety with many women admitting similar attempted attacks or incidents of being followed in the same area, without reporting it.

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About a month ago, I took my daughter to a new playgroup in an area I hadn’t been to before. We arrived early and my toddler started to become unsettled, so I got out of the car and was leaning into the backseat when I was approached by two men. Immediately I became terrified, the men looked drunk and I really didn’t like the way one of them was looking at me. I became even more concerned when they asked me where the nearest pub was.  It was 9am. I was in a quiet street and there was no one around.

Luckily they continued walking by and I jumped into the car and locked the doors, shaking and scared. I immediately contacted my Aunty who is a Police Officer who told me to call the Police Assistance line on 131 444, which I did. I reported everything I could and the police sent a patrol car out to the area I was in.

How many of us have had similar experiences where our safety has been compromised? How many times have we walked short distances alone late at night? From a restaurant to a car that’s ‘parked just around the corner’ or from a bar onto a busy street to hail down a taxi?

Not anymore girls.

Here are five ways we need to take better care of ourselves and each other.

1) Save the Police Assistance number 131 444 into your phone under favourites RIGHT NOW. If you see or hear anything suspicious, call this number immediately. It goes without saying that in an emergency, dial 000.

2) If you go out with friends, especially at night, you have to insist on that no one leaves alone. Drop each other home or to parked cars, however close they might be. Make sure that your friends are actually in their car or front door before driving off.

3) ALWAYS drive with your car locked.  If you are sitting in your parked car, make sure it’s locked. Always.

4) Never EVER sit in the front of a taxi if you are by yourself. Someone told me this while I was living in Dubai and since then I have always sat in the back of taxis. There have been numerous incidents recently of taxi drivers being inappropriate. It’s more difficult for them to do this if you are sitting in the back. Take a photo of their ID (which is found in the front of the car) and text it to your hubby, boyfriend, mum, dad, flat mate – whoever! If the taxi driver is even thinking about any funny business, this will make them think twice.

5) Be situationally aware, look around you to see what’s happening. I’ve had people catch me by surprise by approaching me for money while I’ve been loading groceries into the car – we need to stop and take notice of who and what is happening around us.

Most of all, we need to make sure we continue to live our lives as we usually do.  We can’t live in fear because of what has happened to Jill.  We just need to be much more careful and cautious.

My deepest sympathy goes out to Jill Meagher’s husband, friends and colleagues in Melbourne, her parents and brother in Perth and her family back in Ireland.

Farewell to the beautiful, smiling Irish girl.

A xxx

Luminessence Candle Giveaway! (Now Closed)

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I just adore candles, for me they are an everyday luxury and I burn one every morning to make my home smell delicious, and again every evening as a way to wind down and relax. (I’ve written previous posts about candles here, here and here – I told you I love them!)

I’m always on the lookout for fabulous new candles, so you can imagine my delight when I received a beautiful candle and letter from the creator of Luminessence candles.  These candles are lovingly hand poured in the Margaret River region of WA, are made with natural soybean wax and come in a range of sixteen gorgeous fragrances including Beach, Citrus Blossom, Pink Poppy and Sweet Pea and Coconut and Lime. Yummy!!

To celebrate our love of candles, Luminessence are giving away a gift pack of three of their beautiful candles to one lucky reader!

To enter, all you have to do is:

1) Head on over and ‘like’ the Luminessence Facebook page here.

2) In the comments section below, tell us in 25 words or less why you love candles.

And that’s it!  It’s too easy.

The competition is open Australia wide. Competition closes Thursday 4th October at midnight WST.  The winner will be selected using the random number generator and announced on Friday 5th October.

Good luck lovelies!

A xxx

Perth Fashion Festival 2012: Giving Back is the New Black

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After a week of incredible fashion, air kisses, gift bags, champagne and way too much fun, we bid Perth Fashion Festival 2012 goodbye with a VIP closing party, Giving Back is the New Black at beautiful Government House.

My hubby and I.  Spot Jenna Clarke’s sparkly Miu Miu shoes bottom right! 

With the super talented Zhivago girls. I love that Lydia (far right) is rocking Zhivago at 5 months pregnant. Respect!

Canapes, wine and champagne abounded, then guests were ushered upstairs for a spectacular show of black evening dresses all made especially for the evening by designers like Morrison, Ange Lang, Poppy Lissiman, Ae’lkemi, Zhivago, Breathless, Little Gracie and Ellery.

Sarah Pauley in Ae’lkemi’s lace nude dress

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi made a heartfelt speech thanking everyone for their contribution and support for Perth Fashion Festival 2012.  The Governors wife Tonya McCusker then took the stage and mentioned that although Ae’lkemi was one of her favourite designers, their lace nude dress wouldn’t be appropriate for the Governors wife to wear.

Guests were then surprised with a parade of sensationally colourful creations that had been showcased throughout the week.

And so we bid adieu to the week that was Perth Fashion Festival 2012.  What really stood out for me was the amazing support, creativity and passion not only for fashion and style but for all of the exciting things that are happening here in Perth and WA.  We need to continue to nurture and support all of our amazing artists, designers, bloggers and small businesses that are flying the flag for ‘Brand WA.’

And now it’s time for me to swap my stilettos, gowns and champagne for ballet flats, jeans and babycino’s.

Until next year fashionistas.  It’s been a blast.

A xx

What were your favourite events from Perth Fashion Festival 2012?

 

Perth Fashion Festival 2012: An Evening with Flannel

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The WA Museum was transformed into a glittering 1920’s playground straight out of Boardwalk Empire for an Evening with Flannel on Monday night. Models were swathed in floaty, shimmering, feathered creations with pearls in their hair.  Guests were treated to cocktails and champagne ahead of a delicious two course meal.

I was invited along to the event as Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi’s guest – talk about making a girl feel special!  I’ve long been an admirer of Lisa’s; she is passionate, bright, inspiring and fascinating to talk to – she certainly had our table captivated. She’s also super stylish, glamorous and loads of fun. Sisters are doing it!

I spotted Candice wearing One Fell Swoop and stylist extraordinaire Ivanna looking fabulous in Kirrily Johnston, love love love the draping.

Glamorous social editor of The West, Di Bauwens in sequins and fur with style queen Emma Milner rocking a 1920’s tasselled number.

The champagne bar was created using a cardboard cut out – how clever! Would love to know what they’re going to do with it now?

Group love with some of the glam girls from the evening before heading home with our fab gift bags.

A xxx

Tomorrow on the blog, the VIP closing event for Perth Fashion Festival: Giving back is the new black!  Oh what a night!

Bistro Guillaume Opening – Crown Perth

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Crown Perth officially opened it’s new restaurant Bistro Guillaume with a lavish soiree over the weekend. Endless rounds of french champagne and cocktails were enjoyed along with freshly shucked oysters, scallops, wagyu beef skewers and escargot.

Bistro Guillaume’s black, white and green decor is strikingly opulent and inviting, and the view of the pool is world class – you could easily be in Dubai, Miami or Las Vegas.

Designer Lara Kovacevich chatted with Emma Milner about Zhivago’s hot new season harness pants.

I caught up with Helen Bossi who looked stunning in her shimmering, sequinned dress.

Johnny Rufffo popped into the party to say hello and was a big hit with the ladies.

Lara Kovacevich with the ever colourful and effervescent Jenna Clarke who was covering the swanky event for WA Today.  Be sure to check out her take on the evening!

For the grand finale, guests were treated to poolside espresso martinis, chocolate truffles, macarons and salted caramels while enjoying an incredible fireworks display.

Crown Perth has evolved into a truly world class venue with the recent additions of Rockpool, Nobu, Bistro Guillaume and The Merrywell.

A xxx

Five Things I’ve Learnt as a Mum

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A few months back the fabulous Fiona from My Mummy Daze asked the question ‘How would you sum up motherhood in two words?’.  The first answer that popped into my head was ‘The best!’.  I absolutely love being a mum, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard at times.  It’s definitely the most challenging role you’ll ever have.  It’s also one of the most fun, exhilarating and rewarding.  These are just some of the things I’ve learnt in the past so far.

Me and my Little Miss

1.  Look After YOU!

I know it sounds pretty straight forward, right?  But when you’re a mum and crazy busy looking after your family, working, cooking, cleaning (the list goes on and on!)  – the first thing you forget about is you.  Dr Ginni Mansberg sums it up perfectly when she talks of her aeroplane theory “They always say fit your own mask first, and then your children’s in an emergency. Airlines have worked out that everyone dies if mum is not OK – but women haven’t”  It’s so true!

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So make sure you look after you.  Take time out to do something you enjoy, whether it’s coffee with girlfriends, a fitness class or reading your favourite magazine. Eat healthy food –  load up on energy boosting snacks like hummus, veggies, fruit and yoghurt.  Drink lots of water, get outside for a walk and fresh air every day (even if it’s only 10 minutes around the block), take a multivitamin and don’t ignore health issues.  Ask yourself this;  if you thought something was wrong with your child – would you hesitate to take them to the doctor? No.  You wouldn’t.  So don’t hesitate to get yourself to your GP if you think something is up.

2. Get Organised

I’m a semi organised person, but being a mum you really need to get super organised.  It makes life SO much easier.  The days and weeks when I feel like life is a breeze happen when I have planned ahead.  Recently, I have been doing my grocery shopping online on a Sunday morning, and that usually means we are fully stocked and ready for the week  by 9am on Monday.  Then I spend the rest of the day baking and cooking a few dishes to have handy and ready to go.  It’s so much easier to pull out a veggie slice and warm it up for Little Miss the minute she gets hungry, rather than try to figure out what to make for her.

My Veggie Slice (recipe here)

I get loads of inspiration from other mummy bloggers and I’m so grateful to them for sharing their tips and recipes.  Some of my favourites are The Misadventurous Maker, The Organised Housewife and Veggie Mama.

3.  Don’t Be Shy to Ask For Help

If people offer their help, don’t turn them down!  Especially in the early days when you are adjusting to motherhood and your new baby.  If someone wants to drop off a lasagne, say ‘That would be wonderful, thank you!’.  If you are totally exhausted and need a few hours sleep to recharge, ask a family member or friend to come over and look after your baby. You will feel SO much better for it.

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We have access to some of the very best health care in the world here in Australia, so if you are struggling with a particular issue, get out your purple book or jump online or even call someone. Whether it’s a medical hotline, Ngala or your clinic nurse.  If you feel like you aren’t coping – talk to somebody.  Make the most of the help available to us lucky Aussies.

4.  Trust Your Instincts

We have instincts for a reason, and as a mother you really need to trust and listen to what they are telling you.  My Little Miss had undiagnosed reflux for four months as a baby.  Everyone was telling me that her symptoms were normal and she would grow out of it.  But I just felt that something was up, and that my beautiful baby girl was in pain.  I saw a clinic nurse and my GP who told me not to worry. Then I finally saw a paediatrician who confirmed that she had reflux and would need some medication for a period of time.  So, even if everyone around you is telling you not to worry – if you feel something is not quite right, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice.

My baby girl

5.  Relax, and Enjoy!

We are overloaded with information from the minute we find out we are pregnant.  There are so many books, pamphlets, websites – all telling you what you should be doing and how. Family, friends and even strangers feel obligated to give you their opinions on how to raise your child – some of this advice can prove to be very useful, but a lot of it really isn’t.  Smile, breathe and say ‘thank you.’ Every mother, baby and situation is different, so don’t feel that you have to follow a particular style of parenting, or compare your child to others – because each child develops and grows at their own rate, in their own time.

Me and my girl

A child health nurse once told me that if you love your child, feed them well and keep them clean and safe – you are doing a fantastic job.  I’ve never forgotten that. So don’t feel pressured to be doing one million activities or feeding them three course gourmet meals.

Relax, enjoy and have fun.

And remember, a happy mum equals a happy home.

A xxx

What have you learnt as a mother?

What’s the best or worst advice you have been given as a mum?